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Tegarayama Masashige Katana




Just out of the woodwork, a well mounted, ubu katana, signed, Oshu Shirakawa Kerai Tegarayama Masashige / Kyowa ni nen hachi gatsu hi (a day in August 1802).    Hawatare:  2 shaku 1 sun 3 bu 5 rin.  (64.7 cm / 25.47").  Motohaba:  2.94 cm.  Sakihaba:  2.08 cm.  Kasane:  6.4 mm.  Billowing o-gunome midare; rich, bright soft deep habuchi.  In places the habuchi will undercut a gunome, leaving it floating above the lower part of the hamon.  Although the blade has been scratched, slight sunagashi, kinsuji, hataraki, can be seen. Nado.  The jigane is itame, but the scratching precludes further description. This blade reminds me of Ozaki Suketaka, many of whose blades have become Tsuda Sukehiro or Sukenao for marketing purposes. 

The koshirae is very nice, with only slight damage to the saya and a few white paint spots, visible in the first picture below.  The tsuka is good same, wrapped black tsuka ito; the menuki are deep black, well detailed shakudo Vajra.   The fuchi-kashira are good quality shakudo nanako with a gilt owl perched on a shaku branch, and gilt monkeys all in takazogan.  The iron sukashi tsuba is of rice grasses and heads, with gilt high lights.  The saya is in very good condition with an excellent iron kurikata elaborately decorated with a Ho-o and foliage in gold nunome.  The kojiri is Higo style iron with nunome cherry blossoms in gold.  Niju silver foil habaki, with the silver missing from the lower piece.

Tegarayama Masashige is rated Jojosaku in Nihon Toko Jiten - Shinto Hen  by Fujishiro.  Valued at 5,500,000 yen in Shibata's  Toko Taikan;   listed with a double square in Nihonto Meikan; and pictured in both Nihonto Zuikan and Shinshinto Taikan, as well as numerous other texts. 

This is an extremely attractive blade that should be polished to restore its true beauty.  The signature does  not match any example of Tegarayama Masashige that I have found.  A glance at the Yama kanji precludes any chance of a kantei of shomei.  It could well be by Masashige, though the signature is not.  It very much reminds me of the work of Ozaki Suketaka, many of whose blades have become Tsuda Sukehiro or Sukenao for commercial purposes.     


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